Revelation 4:3-4

June 30 – July 1, 2018 • Pastor Netz Gómez

The Realm of the Beauty of God Part II

“And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.”

I. REVIEW AND INTRODUCTION

Before revealing the judgments that God will send to earth (chapters 6-18), the Lord gave John a vision of what will previously happen in heaven. Jesus did this to allow the readers to see the coming earthly events from a heavenly perspective.

God revealed the entire scene of the heavenly court, in chapters 4-5, as taking place in the cosmic temple of which the Tabernacle of the Old Testament was a reflection. This scene describes the divine court in session in which the Father declares the dignity of the “Lamb” to receive the land as inheritance, symbolized by the book (or scroll) that is the title of property of the earth sealed with seven seals.

Rev. 5:3 “But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.”

These chapters (4 and 5) serve the dual purpose of initiating the series of judgments that lead to the coming of Jesus to the earth and the final descent of the city of God to the earth (The New Jerusalem). In addition, these chapters are the axis of the structure that holds the book together, since the rest of the visions fit into this main base. Although also, the vision of chapters 4-5 is an independent whole, which fulfills a very important function with respect to the message of the book: It reveals the foundation of the assurance that God’s merciful purpose for the universe will be fulfilled, evidenced by the praise and worship that express it as an accomplished fact.

The pastoral purpose is to assure Christians of all times that God and Jesus are sovereign and that the events that the saints face and will face are part of that plan that will culminate in their total redemption and vindication of their faith through the punishment of their persecutors. No part of Scripture is more calculated to evoke adoration than these two chapters of John’s prophecy.

II. THE BEAUTY OF THE PERSON OF GOD (4: 3)
v.3 “And He who sat there [the Throne] was like a jasper and a sardius stone in

appearance…”

• Jasper is a gem of great price, bright and shining like a diamond which expresses “HOW GOD LOOKS LIKE”. God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1: 5). He dwells in light (Da 2:22) and covers Himself with light as his garment (1 Tim 6:16). Every good gift descends from the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of variation (James 1:17).

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Psalm 104:1-2a “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, 2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment…”

• Sardius is a deep red gemstone, which expresses “HOW GOD FEELS” describing the fervent passion and desire of His heart. God not only loves, but He is love (1 John 4: 8, 16). His heart burns like a fire, both to give His love by unleashing more grace on those who respond to this love; as to remove everything what hinders His love by unleashing judgment against those who obstruct it.

Heb. 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Zeph. 3:8 “…All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.”

We may think that the likeness of this radiance of God with the ruby denotes His anger as a reaction of His holy nature in view of the prevailing sinfulness of man and for which He is about to make judgments upon the earth, so that ‘the inhabitants of the world learn justice.” (Is. 26:9).

• “and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald” According to the Biblical context, the rainbow is a declaration of His covenant of mercy and tenderness towards His creation, telling us “HOW GOD ACTS” towards all those who approach He in His terms (Gen. 9: 12-17). He is full of grace; He is merciful, slow to anger and great in goodness (Jl. 2:13).

Ex. 34:6-7 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsu ering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty…”

This celestial rainbow is not like our earthly “half-arch,” since it has an emerald tone and literally surrounds the entire Throne being actually spherical, wrapping the Throne of God in all dimensions.

Normally the rainbow is composed of seven colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet but in this case the predominant color is green that expresses life. Usually the rainbow appears after the storm but in this case it is seen before it.

All the beauty we see in this world is a faint reflection of the source of supreme beauty: God. The beauty of God is expressed in how He inspires humans to virtuous acts of heroic courage and love. In the coming age He will fill the earth with love, kindness and humility..

III. THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S PARTNERS

Rev. 4:4 “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.”

It is not easy to determine who these elders are, there are two ideas: either they are men (not with a glorified body); or they are celestial beings. If they are human, part of them may be from the tribes of Israel and part of the church. If they are angelic beings they can be authorities of the ages. The point here is that the beauty of those who accompany God is in the place they are, where they are sitting, how they dress and

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what they do. They are sitting in close proximity to God in thrones of authority, dressed in shining garments and with crowns of gold (God imparts His beauty).

Seeing that they are in that place gives us an understanding as to the high and transforming power of God’s redeeming genius. The Father possesses all things but He desires to exalt and dignify His own, bringing them into an intimate association with Him forever. This shows the beauty of God’s heart by sharing His glory and His reign with His own.

• Thrones: The saints have been made “kings and priests” (Rev. 1: 6; 5:10; 20: 4, 6; 22: 5) and therefore we will participate in various levels of government in the Kingdom of God on the earth during the Millennium (Da 7:18, 22, 27, Rev. 22: 5). This also includes our rank in the army of Jesus and a position in the procession of the second coming of Christ and certain spheres of influence and authority (Rev. 2: 26-27) on nations, cities and people (Hag 2:23; Luke 19: 17-18).

Rev. 5:10 “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

• Twenty-four elders: Both the number of elders and their rank speak of fullness. The day has 24 hours and these elders are people of authority under the leadership of God. Around the throne of God there is fullness in every aspect. He is worshiped day and night and has and bestows authority on His own.

• Clothed in white robes: The saints will be clothed for “beauty and glory” (Ex. 28:1-43). The word “white” speaks of the brightness of the robes not so much of the color; in Greek “leukos” means resplendent (Mt. 17: 2; Rev. 6:11; 7: 9, 13; 19:14) and emphasizes the presence of the glory of God and the light that will emanate from our garments (Ps. 132: 9, 16). The magnitude of the brightness will depend on our governmental status and stature in the Spirit in the coming age. Each person has a di erent story in God and will receive clothes that will express the quality and depth of their devotion to Jesus while on earth.

1 Cor. 15:41-42a “There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star di ers from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead…”

• Crowns of gold: These crowns are not related to salvation but with a victory that was obtained and a place of authority and function in the infrastructure of the Kingdom of God. There are several references in the New Testament to the crown that a believer can receive from the Lord. It is referred to as a “crown of life” (James 1:12: Rev. 2:10); “Crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8) and “crown of glory” (Isaiah 28:5).

1 Pe. 5:4 “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away”

IV. THE WAY TO DELIGHT IN GOD’S BEAUTY

How can we grow by contemplating His beauty and participate in the “narrative of the beauty of God”? We are moved by what we admire; and our admiration is born of our scale of values therefore to grow in the right emotions towards God we have to ask Him to reveal Himself to us to know His greatness and then respond to His beauty and thus renew the source of our emotions.

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Ps 145: 5, 10-11 “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works… 10 …And Your saints shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power.”

This is one of David’s most instructive psalms on how to engage with God and to

walk in victory over dark emotions of despair, lust, fear, and a feeling of worthlessness.

The process of transformation occurs little by little as we speak simple, inspired thoughts back to God and to others, they grow, like watering a seed. They begin to shift the way we think and feel about ourselves, others, and the future. Anyone who does these three things will be transformed in their emotions progressively:

Activity #1 Meditating on God: Search out and think deeply on who He is and what He has done. Our delight in His beauty grows by meditating on it (Ps. 145:5).

Activity #2 Blessing God: To bless God includes speaking what we see back to God with gratitude and a ection. Our delight of His beauty grows by blessing or speaking it (Ps. 145:10). We are to speak to God the things we admire about Him. Kingdom principle: when we say the truth about God, the Spirit moves. He will mark our heart because He moves when we say what the Word is. Write down the phrases that inspire you when you speak to God and say them again to God.

Activity #3 Declaring to others: As we declare or share what we admire about God to others, our delight in His beauty grows as does the delight of others (Ps. 145:6, 11). As we verbalize what we see of God’s beauty, our insight and delight increase.

C. S. Lewis: “We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. The delight is incomplete until it is expressed.”

John Piper: We glorify or magnify God when we discern and delight in His beauty by treasuring, enjoying, celebrating, and making much of His name and beauty, by declaring it to others, and by reflecting it in our lives. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.

he Spirit is raising up those who will proclaim the riches of Christ as ‘theologians of His beauty.”. Eph 3:8 “To me…grace was given, that I preach…the unsearchable riches [beauty] of Christ.”

Paul saw the value of praying for others to receive greater insight into the God’s beauty. Eph 1:17-18 “… that…the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.”

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. How can you change your negative emotions? Explain
  2. Is there something that keeps you from growing in the delight of God’s beauty?
  3. Which of the aspects of God’s beauty impacted you most on this topic and why?
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